P.Mean: Social networking as a business tool (created 2008-08-19).

The New York Times had an interesting article about using social networking tools for professional goals:

This is a fairly basic article, which was good for me because I have ignored social networking sites until recently.

If you have avoided social-networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook with the excuse that they are the domain of desperate job hunters or attention-seeking teenagers, itís time to reconsider.

The article cites several uses of these social networking sites. When you list previous employers on your LinkedIn resume, the system shows you contacts with people who also worked at your previous employer. You can also search for people working for a company you'd like to work at. There is a low threshold for networking. You don't have to email or call someone. Just add them to your list of contacts.

There is a formality with LinkedIn that is different than other social networking sites.

If LinkedIn is the Chamber of Commerce luncheon, then Facebook is the after-hours party (and MySpace is the all-night rave, which may make trolling for business connections there a bit trying). "Facebook seems a more natural way of communicating," said Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst for eMarketer in Seattle. "LinkedIn seems more formal."

Of course, you can use any of these sites for personal networking, but the article stresses keeping your personal and your private life separate.

I'm a total novice in this area, but I'll try it and see if it helps with my fledging consulting business.

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